Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Running #37

Today's Run
Distance: A little less than 7 km (not sure)
Time: 40 min and a few seconds (not sure, don't care)

The toughest run I've done in a long time. Towards the end, every step felt like a kilometre.

It was one of those days when you wake up in the morning and the body is saying 'No, not today... please!' But I dragged my ass out of bed and made it to Marine Drive. I ran a shorter distance for two reasons:
1. I didn't have the heart to go by the Oberoi this morning. Dunno, just didn't feel up to passing the scene of so much pain and bloodshed. Not today at least.
2. Zero energy. I was low on energy even before I began the run. I can't explain it. Neither my mind nor my body were willing today. On off days, either the mind powers the body to go on or vice-versa. Today though, both ran out on me. Literally.

I'm going to run tomorrow again. Maybe I'll run some other place tomorrow morning just for a change of scene. Let's see.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Dazed and Confused

The last week flew by in a daze. The terrorist attacks have been numbing leaving me angry, helpless and confused.

Fortunately, our TV wasn't accessible because of some painting work for most of the days the siege was on, but the entire episode has left a mark on me. The mere thought that most of the places that were attacked are places my friends and family frequent really shook me. Plus the added necessity of remaining indoors for three days and not being able to do much was extremely depressing.

Friday evening, I decided to step out for a run with my iPod. I wanted to run away from all this violence and death and gloom to another world. So I put on my headphones and hit Marine Drive. The city was enveloped in an eerie silence. Few people out on the streets and fewer cars zipping by. It was like a ghost town, relatively speaking.

My mind was numb as I pounded away with my back towards the Oberoi. It was ironic that I was enjoying a "pleasant" evening run while a game of life and death unfolded less than a kilometre away. I was torn. A part of me wanted to go there and kill the terrorists, but another part of me knew I would harm innocent lives if I did. That apart from having zero knowledge about guns. I'd be a liability. But it was that feeling of not being able to do much that really got to me.

While I continue with work and try to get on with the rest of my life, there is still a lingering sense of frustration and helplessness that bothers me. Usually I'm out like a light by 10.15 pm, but these days I stare at the ceiling or the light creeping in from the windows.

What do you do when there is all this blood, gore and death around you and the only survivor amongst the terrorists really believes that jannat (heaven) is waiting for him in the after-life for his 'noble acts for Islam'? Is this what Islam has been reduced to? A manual for death? And it's not just Islam really, we have successfully destroyed the true spirit of every existing religion.

Without doubt, we are a race in crisis and I believe that if we do not mend our ways, we will self-destruct like earlier life forms that have inhabited the planet.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Waking Up in A New Country

I definitely did not go to sleep last night in this country.

The country I went to sleep in had the Rajabai clock tower chiming merrily every 15 minutes. Over there, the dome of the Taj Mahal Hotel near the Gateway of India shone brightly in the evening sky, people enjoyed their drinks and music at Cafe Leopold and Colaba Causeway was a great place to hang out.

Today though, Taj Mahal dome did shine, but not because of the bulbs that usually lit it up, Rajabai clock tower's chime had lost its cheer, the only music playing at Leo's was a death knoll and Colaba Causeway became a place to hang out, not for common citizens, but for the National Security Guard (NSG) Commandos who have flown in from across the country to fight these mother-fucking terrorists.

In this country, they've even imposed curfew so we can't get out of our homes and endanger ourselves and others.

I pray for those who lost their lives and for their families fighting for their old country.

I, no, We, want our country back, the country we went to sleep in.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Life In Longitudinal Waves

So much has happened in the past two years of my life and it has led me to the conclusions that life unravels itself in irregular longitudinal waves. (See image below.)


While image above is of a more regular pattern, with compressions and rarefactions interspersed at regular intervals, life's rarefactions and compressions are quite irregular.

If I were to describe the last two years of my life, it would definitely be a compression. Papa's passing, a broken engagement, meeting my to be life partner, starting up my own business, getting married (in less than a month)... it's overwhelming when I think about it.

Before that, college life and a few years after college felt like a rarefaction. Yes, there were changes and important events, but none that affected me as much as those in the past couple of years. Life seemed to be dawdling along.

I guess that's how life is. I know I'm not making any earth-shattering revelation. Just a mundane observation.

It can be one long rarefaction until you hit a tumultuous series of compressions with tiny rarefactions scattered in-between. Or sometimes it feels like this never-ending compression until you discover you're suddenly in this little rarefaction.

I don't think one is better than the other i.e. a compression is better than a rarefaction or vice-versa, but they're undoubtedly different.

Together I think they make life a wonderful journey. One long longitudinal wave. Or short. But longitudinal and interesting nonetheless.

Running #36

Today's Run
Distance: 8 km
Time: 47 min 32 sec

A faster pace than the last 8 km I did so I'm satisfied. The rhythm is definitely back, so is the pleasant weather in Mumbai. I think that is definitely helping.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Glad

In these times when so many people are losing jobs or sitting in office idle, I'm really grateful for having a job I enjoy. I guess that's the advantage of being in a services industry to an extent.

That's besides the point. I think you're extremely fortunate if you wake up to a job that you enjoy and challenges you almost everyday. I happen to be one of those and I'm really deeply grateful to whatever it is out there that led me to where I am now.

Every now and then, I guess we make decisions in life which, at the time of making them, we're unsure of and come good. Glad to have made one of them.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Running #35

Today's Run
Distance: 15 km
Time: 1 hour 27 min 58 sec

I was really happy with the run this morning. I woke up by 5, got enough time to stretch, cycled to NCPA for the start of the run and was warmed up enough by the time I got there.

The most satisfying thing about the run was getting the rhythm back. I started slowly and picked up the pace gradually. On the Peddar Road downhill to Haji Ali, I was wondering if I'd struggle on the way back up, but the body responded beautifully. Everything was in synch. The breathing, the legs, the arms... I ran on auto-pilot.

I picked up even more pace on the way back and I was surprised. At some point in your running, you become almost a witness to your body. It seems to function effortlessly. Meditative at some level.

Looks like the recovery from the injury is more or less complete. :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Kabir's Dohas

I've always loved hearing Kabir's dohas. Especially Shekhar Sen's rendition of them. The problem though was that I could never fully understand the dohas because of my limited knowledge of the dialect in which they are spoken. I'd get an idea of what they were saying, but never the exact meaning.

I found a site this morning that explains these dohas. They're just wonderful to read. Simply constructed, yet with such deep messages. A soothing balm for our often troubled souls.

Click here to read them along with their explanantions.

Running #34

Today's Run
Distance: 8 km
Time: 48 min 14 sec

Friday, November 07, 2008

Running #33

Today's Run
Distance: 12 km
Time: 1 hour 15 min 16 sec

Wanted to test the hamstring over a longer distance and it went off pretty smoothly. Despite the time being relatively slower than before, I can feel the rhythm slowly coming back. It will be a week or two before I can run like I was before the injury. But a satisfying effort nonetheless.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Current Reading

The book I've been reading for the past couple of weeks is called 'What I Talk About When I Talk About Running' by Haruki Murakami. I'm enjoying it. If anything, it has stoked my desire to get back to full fitness soon and train hard.

As a fellow runner, I identify a lot with Murakami's experiences while running. In case I left you guessing, that's what the book is about. I love the little bits when he throws in some of his philosophy. Here's an excerpt I loved:

"Usually when I approach the end of a marathon, all I want to do is get it over with, and finish the race as soon as possible. That's all I can think of. But as I drew near the end of this ultramarathon, I wasn't really thinking about this. The end of the race is just a temporary marker without much significance. It's the same with our lives. Just because there's an end doesn't mean existence has meaning. An end point is simply set up as a temporary marker, or perhaps an indirect metaphor for the fleeting nature of existence."

Running #32

I ran after a break of exactly 2 weeks and I'm rusty. I ran well within myself and put in a poor time. More important now is the recovery. Will see how the hamstring holds up this week. I have my last ultrasound physiotherapy session at Breach Candy Hospital on Friday. It's the only time I've enjoyed going to a hospital. Their physio department is pretty good. I didn't like the not running restriction though, but I know the injury was bad. It felt like something had snapped.

It's fabulous to be out on Marine Drive in the early morning running again. The cool morning breeze, those familiar faces, watching the concrete go by below my feet... back to where I should be.

Today's Run:
Distance: 8 km
Time: 48 min 23 sec


Friday, October 31, 2008

The Road to Recovery

It's been a sad couple of weeks. Last Wednesday, I had my first real sports injury, a partial hamstring tear and on Friday, I lost my mum-in-law to be.

The hamstring injury keeps me away from running for about 3 weeks, just when I was beginning to get some rhythm after a considerable break from long-distance running. And poof! My hamstring goes bust. In the midst of dealing with it, and it is a HUGE deal to me to miss marathon prep, my fiancee's ma passed away.

That took the wind out of my sails. And it was so sudden! Everything happened in a day, just like when Papa passed away over two years ago. It was really sad, even more so because she'll miss the wedding in a couple of months.

I'll be honest here. I didn't get to know her as well as I'd liked to, but we got on well. We'd make fun of my fiancee together, talk about cricket a little and exchange pleasantries. She was extremely warm and treated me like a son. I'll miss not having her around.

My fiancee's been very strong about it and I'm proud of her, but I won't write more about that here to respect her privacy. I think people's feelings on the loss of someone very dear should be kept private unless they volunteer to speak/write about it.

We've spent the last week dealing with the loss as a family and it's been tough. Like all such losses, I know this is one we will never fully get over. That's just the way death is. It leaves you wondering what just happened. Especially when it hits you so suddenly.

You wonder if everything you shared was a big dream. Those family holidays, the day your parent slapped you for doing something wrong, the surprisingly good report card you turned in every once in a while (read, 5 years in my case)... it feels like a different life. Surreal.

Where did they all go...

Thursday, October 02, 2008

In other news...

...I get married in December. To someone I met at my old office. :)

It's been on the cards for a bit now. I just didn't want to come out and say it until I felt everything was in place and the time was right. Especially after what happened with my previous broken engagement and various other failed relationships. Shit, that makes me sound like a wreck!

But anyway, it is what it is. :)

Exciting Times!

I've really missed writing here for a while. It's been, mainly, because I've been busy getting my fledgling company off the ground. Hiring people, getting the website up, trying to get business... the works.

It's been excellent learning. Irrespective of how it eventually ends up, I'm so so soooo glad I've taken the chance to pursue my dream. There seems to be a romance to life now. I can feel the idealism and belief, dormant for so long, creeping back into my life. There's no better feeling than stepping out of my comfort zone and into the realm of the unknown.

Everyday begins with hopes or recovering from the previous day's disappointments. It's a roller-coaster. I guess it teaches you to enjoy life for what it is, not what you want it to be.

If there's one lesson I've learnt in these past few weeks, it's this, don't take anything for granted. The new hire who says he'll join in 3 days but doesn't turn up, the potential client who promises you a lot but comes up with nothing... the list is endless. I'm not being cynical here, just realistic. There's many a slip betwixt the cup and the lip. :)

The more I think about it, the more I feel that we're little players in this humungous play of destiny. No matter how much we may want something and work hard for it, if it isn't in your destiny, there's really nothing you can do about it. I think it's acceptance that has taught me to love life as it is.

It's a big change from where I was four years ago, but I think it's a change for the better.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Running #31

Distance: 8 km
Time: 47 min 45 sec

Was doing a distance run after a few weeks so it was a bit tiring. But it was great to be out on Marine Drive on Saturday morning! Loved it! :)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Frisbee


I'm dying to play frisbee today. I think I'll step out this evening and find someone who is also interested in chucking one around.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Courage

This commercial drives me absolutely fucking crazy. I get such an adrenaline rush I can't even tell you.



It's what I feel when I'm running the 21st kilometre of a half-marathon I've trained for, it's what I feel when I'm chasing a football I know I have no hope of reaching, it's what I feel when I'm doing the last rep of a heavy workout exercise.

I may not win, but I got Soul.

Don't Get First Class...

...Be first class!

That's what a teacher at school would say to us. Unfortunately he passed on before we got to senior school, but in many ways, his teaching has outlived him.

He taught English Literature, did Mr. Joe Sheth. One of those aristocratic teachers, he had an aura about him. An air of class and panache. His leisurely afternoon smokes in the Gent's Staffroom were commonplace, much to the chagrin of fellow teachers and most certainly the school principal. His faults notwithstanding, the man left an impression on you.

I only wish he had taught us Julius Caesar like he did for the batches 3 or 4 years senior to us. I love the play even without him teaching it to me and I can only imagine the effect his interpretation of the play would have had on me.

I loved school life, the rowdy lunch breaks in an all-boys school, playing dodge-ball, this sometimes painful game called abba doobi, volleyball, cricket, football... the works. The days we got detention for making nuisances of ourselves, the few classes that I enjoyed, art, physics (at times), english literature and a few others.

But one of the things I'll be grateful to my alma mater for is the times spent with a few wonderful teachers who were also outstanding characters.

While I may have taken the first part of Joe Sheth's quote ("Don't get first class, be first class.") a bit too seriously, it is the second part of the quote that will always be an aspiration and an inspiration for me. I didn't learn very much academically throughout my education. I was an average, or at best a slightly-above-average student. But I remember the little lessons that our teachers taught us that never there in books. And those are the lessons that I find help you through life the most. The good times and the bad. Not some Pythagorean equation to find the hypotenuse length of a right-angled triangle.

Of the many many important lessons I've learned in school, the one that is reverberating through my head these days is... Don't get First Class, be first class.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Cycle

In my commitment to live eco-friendly, I've borrowed a friend's old cycle and now use it for short distances in the early mornings. The cycle's a bit rusty and old, but it runs well and is basically a very good bike. A Raleigh.

It feels good to do these little things that I've always wanted to do. I'm passionate about the environment and conserving it and I do small things in my everyday life to stay eco-friendly.

The little things that I do do (I love it when that happens inadvertently, the do-do):
1. Cycle short distances or long ones on a holiday
2. Refuse to take plastic bags when checking out of stores
3. Stuffing my pockets with litter instead of trashing public/private spaces
4. Try and use public transport more often than I did earlier

I know it's not much, but I think if everyone makes a commitment to make small changes in their lifestyles, the deterioration of the environment might just slow down. That change will only come when we truly accept that the universe wasn't just made for humans and when we learn to live within our means.

Often, I wish we could all go back to being an agrarian society. We seemed so much more in touch with Nature and with ourselves. Now, it feels like we're a bunch of shadows in our urban jungles. Has our "evolution" really helped us? All our technological prowess, breakthrough research... what has it brought us to? A place that's definitely better than a century or two ago? I don't know anymore.

I'm rambling. Should get back to work now.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Back from Bangalore

I had a wonderful time attending my cousin's wedding. We're basically South Indian, Konkani to be specific, and the guy she married is a Sindhi so it was a nice mix of cultures.

Day 1 - The Cocktail Party: I had an absolute blast! Everybody in the family hit the dance floor, and I mean EVERYBODY. Old uncles, aunts, kid cousins, young moms... everybody was grooving. All the guests were in high spirits, no thanks to the bartender who was serving these MASSIVE drinks. I'm telling you, I must've downed like 4 drinks (I think!), but it felt like 8! Anyway, everything seemed nice, happy and jolly. I helped random old men get their drinks, danced with uncles and aunts, said cheers to practically anyone who had a drink, laughed with and at folks and generally had fun. An evening well spent! :)

Day 2 - Mehendi: Honestly, I can't stand the smell of the stuff so it got to me a little. Besides, I think there was a fair bit of alcohol still going through my system which made it a bit worse for me. The evening was fun though. Sitting and chatting with family at my grand-aunt's place and then a yummy biryani dinner at my aunt's.

Day 3 - Wedding & Reception: The wedding was nice. More or less traditional. The couple looked great together and I'm really happy for them. The sideshows here are the most fun. Everyone bitching about everyone else's clothes! :) It's amazing how clothes are the most talked about things at weddings. You'll see groups of men and women sitting in a huddle and discussing what people are wearing, why something is ghastly, pretty, shiny, sombre... whatever. Everyone has something to say about clothes I think. Then there's kids running around making a racket, young ladies preening and young men trying to get their attention... it's always a beautiful tamasha.

Apart from the wedding, I got a chance to walk around M.G. Road, St. Mark's Road and Church Street. Bangalore breakfasts are my absolute faves! I love the idli-vada-dosa breakfasts down south. And the best part is, the sambar isn't sweet like it is here in Mumbai (thanks to the Gujarati influence). The weather was cool, rainy sometimes and sitting there taking in the Bangalore morning at Kaycee's on Church Street wolfing down a set dosa was blissful.

Walking up and down Church Street reminded me of the time my friends and I went to Bangalore for the Aerosmith concert and stayed at, hold your breath, Dhanlakshmi Tiffin Rooms!!! :) It was pretty nice btw, DLTR. Happy times! :)

I'll leave you with an interesting message on a wall outside Bowring Institute. Enjoy! :)

Never mind the corrupt politicians, we'll get 'em Bill Sticks! Yee haw!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Running #29, 30

#29
Distance: 8 km
Time: 47 min 57 sec

#30
Distance: 9.5 km
Time: 54 min 51 sec

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Catching Up

I haven't posted here in the longest time and I've missed being here. It's busy working independently and I'm still enjoying it.

Apart from work, I've started playing tennis at the MSLTA which is close to home on some evenings. My friends and me really suck at it, but it's good to get the adrenaline pumping in the evenings for a change also.

The running is fun as always. I've started interval running with this enthu bunch of runners at PDP on Wednesday mornings. I haven't posted my latest running times here so I'll have to catch up on that too. Gymming is on in the mornings as well so my day always starts off with an endorphin rush. :) I'm also back to playing football.

I'm going through this phase in my life where I'm ready to play almost any sport. (I don't consider chess and carrom-like games "sport".) I'm dying to play frisbee with someone! I love playing frisbee! I could do it for hours. It's a trance-like activity. Meditative at some level if you're playing with someone who's decent. Any frisbee enthusiasts out there? Hello???

I've all this energy suddenly these days that I don't know what to do with it sometimes. I've even been called an "Energizer-bunny"!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

I'll Never Get Over You

This is one of my favourite songs ever from the 'Garden State' movie soundtrack. It's called 'I Just Don't Think I'll Ever Get Over You' by Colin Hay.

I'm taking the song out of its romantic context and dedicating this to my father who passed on in June 2006. We had a puja (prayer ceremony) for him the other day commemorate the anniversary of his passing last week (according to the Hindu calendar).

Listen to the song if you've the time. If you've loved and lost someone, the lyrics, the guitar strums and the sad musical strains will touch you. Not in a bad way, but in a sad yet beautifully ironic way.

I hope you like it. Here is the video along with the lyrics. (There's a couple lines in the song that are inappropriate for the context I've chosen, for Papa, the one about being asked to dinner and the line after.)




I just watched it and it's brought me, nearly, to tears. Love you, Papa. Wherever you are, some of you will always be with me.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Going Guerilla

Aside
A bunch of my friends and I went out to Khopoli (a place about 50 km away from Mumbai) to a friend's farmhouse last Saturday.

It was beautiful! Cool, surrounded by lush greenery and the bungalow was on the banks of a smallish river.

After we loaded up on vada paos and poha, we got ourselves our favourite drinks, mine is a vodka tonic loaded with ice, and goofed around in the bungalow.

Then we went swimming in the river! It was so much fun!!! Rocky, strong current, slippery and mossy, shallow. We had get down on all fours to get through some parts. There was this one moment when I got swept away by the current and took another friend down with me. I swear, we could've died if our heads had hit one of those rocks at that speed. But we came away almost unscathed, with a few cuts and bruises. One of THE scariest experiences of my life. I thought I was gone for a second. I guess that wasn't to be, I'm here writing this post. :)

In other news, I've started playing football again. Went to join my buddies this morning and it was just superb being out there, running in the muck and rain, shouting and screaming... I felt like I was back in school. I think that's one of the small reasons that keeps me going back. We're not like a professional or even amateur team or anything. We practice and play for the love of the game and to stay fit. The coach and the gang we happy to have me back. It felt like going back to family. Fabulous!

Main Story:
Besides football, I've been crazy busy getting my little company going. Thinking of names, logos, bank accounts, meeting potential clients and doing a bit of running around to get it off the ground. I might have to hire a couple writers soon. Let's see.

I already have a project I'm working on and it's quite exciting. So I'm enjoying that.

Going independent has been a great experience until now. I just feel like I'm able to express myself through my work so so much more. It's like breaking the shackles. Honest to god, I don't know how this venture will shape up. But I'm dedicating my effort to Papa who sadly isn't with us, Amma, my grandparents and to another special person.

I'm going to give this everything I've got, my best and will leave the rest to destiny. I'm not scared of not making it. If there's anything I'm scared of, it's not giving my best.

I'm going guerilla.

Running #26, 27 and 28

#26
Distance: 8 km
Time: 48 min 6 sec

#27
Distance: 8 km (My stopwatch got busted, more about that later)
Time: ?

#28
Distance: 8 km
Time: ? (same reason)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Running #24 and 25

# 24 Tuesday's Run:
Distance: 8 km
Time: 48 min 52 sec

I've decided not to think about the timing on my runs any more. I just want to enjoy my runs like I used to earlier. I've started obsessing over the timing and have struggled to accept the slower times I've been running since stopping the protein supplements.

I think I'm finally over both. This run was nice. Relaxed and easy. I don't have a runner's build. I've heavy bones. Most people can't believe I weigh 72 kgs. I don't look it at my height.

#25 Today's Run:
Distance: Unknown (13 km approx)
Time: 1 hr 17 min 42 sec

Outdoor. One of the most beautiful runs I've ever done. I ran with a couple of friends from the gym and we charted out a nice fun route.

Started at Marine Plaza Hotel on Marine Drive - Chowpatty - turned right at Kulfi Centre towards Opera House - then over Kennedy Bridge - Cumballa Hill - up the Hanging Gardens road up to Walkeshwar - down Walkeshwar back to Chowpatty and then back to Marine Plaza.

The weather was perfect. Overcast, windy and very few people out on the roads in the early morning. The most magical moment - the rain beginning to pour down as we struggled on the uphill past the Tower of Silence on the Hanging Garden road. The road is beautiful even without the rains, trees bending over the street to form a beautiful canopy with gaps just big enough to let a few rays of light through. And when it rains! Ohhhh!!! The smell was trippy.

There were moments during the run when I was in a trance, I had forgotten myself as I took in the sights, the smell of the wet earth and the cool rain hitting my face as we pounded away on the streets. I wish you were there.

P.S. Haathi, next time you're in town, get your running shoes! Mee, you're welcome to join the running group! :) So is anybody else! If anyone in Mumbai City wants to join us running on Saturday mornings, do let me know. Cheers!

Friday, July 11, 2008

A Life is Lived in an Instant

Just came across this super article about how life must be lived for the now. I often balk at these modern ideas of retiring at 40 and early retirement to move to this fancy house on the beach you've built for yourself.

40 is too late. What if I don't make it to 40? I don't mean to be fatalistic but it's a possibility. It's a lot of thoughts like this that have changed the way I live my life. I live for the "now". Earlier, I would spend hours and hours thinking about whether I should say something to someone, labour over how the other person would react, what the other person would think of me if I said what I wanted to and all kinds of other useless thoughts. Today I ask myself one question, 'If I were to die the next moment, would I say/do what I wanted to?'. The answer isn't always yes. But it makes my life a lot simpler. No doubt, there are times when I look back and think how stupid it was to say or do what I did, but people make mistakes. I try and learn from them. No regrets.

I'll shut up now. Go read.

Monday, July 07, 2008

The Hike

Fog, hills blanketed by green trees, waterfalls, a lot of sweat and heat, welcome drops of rain, yummy choco-chip cookies at the summit, slippery rocks, helping folks climb up/down, simple, beautiful village people, the gurgling stream, great company...

What an unforgettable Sunday.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Exercise Ideas

Now that I've quit my job, I'm going to have more time in the early mornings.

One of the things I'm definitely going to do is start swimming again. I went for a swim this morning and it felt great! There was only one other person in the pool, I got a nice big wide lane and I gave it a good go considering I was swimming swimming (that's intentional, like properly swimming) after a long time.

60 lengths of a 25-metre pool was fun. And not too tiring either. (I took three brief 1-minute stops after a set of 20 lengths. 40 freestyle and 20 breast-stroke.) I've really missed swimming and it felt so good to back in a pool again. Besides, it's great to cross-train with running.

Another thing I'm going to do is get me a cycle. One of the little things that annoyed me about my job was the amount of fuel I'd have to burn to get to work everyday. (I drive about 56 kms a day right now.) Contributing to pollution, global warming and all that. It may seem stupid to you but it was this little thing always sat at the back of my head.

So anyway, once I get my cycle, I'm going to try and cycle short distances. I stay eco-friendly and I get exercise.

On a completely different note, I think I've got the soul of a hippy. Sometimes, I think I belong a world that wasn't so fast. Like my parents' generation or something. Blues and jazz, people had time for each other, idealism, romance. It all sounds like a dream now. Everything is so fast. The food, relationships, dating, cars, reading, work, deadlines. Where are we going in such a hurry?

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Running #23

Today's Run:
Distance: 8 km
Time: 47 min 9 sec

Outdoor. Tiring. But I feel good now.

I'm not quite sure why the outdoor runs are taking longer. The wind or weather? or do treadmills make it easier? Not sure. Either way, I'd like to work on getting better times. I hope they improve with practice.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Secret

I was rained in yesterday so I decided to watch 'The Secret' movie.

I'd read about the law of attraction a little earlier but the movie was quite interesting. I'm not entirely convinced about it, but it has certainly got me thinking.

Basically, the movie/book says that you attract whatever happens to you with your thoughts. So if you're thinking of good things happening, chances are that they will happen. Likewise with bad stuff. What you "feel" is feedback on your thoughts.

Another very interesting point in the movie was that we should focus more on asserting what we want rather than thinking about things that we do not want. For example, instead of thinking 'I don't want to get stuck in a jam today.', I could probably think 'I'd like my ride to work to be smooth and quick.'

Why am I not fully convinced about all this? Mmm... I think my main question is what about all the people who think good things will happen to them or want good things to happen to them and they never happen. For some people, it could be earning lots of money. For others, it could be a dream holiday. I don't know. What about all those people?

My counter-question to my doubt is 'How do I know exactly what all those other people were thinking? Suppose they were just saying it on the outside but had some negative thoughts in their heads?'

The solution to this is to experiment with this Secret thing myself. I haven't really paid attention to my thoughts like this. But let's see how it goes. I think it's worth a shot.

Do you have any thoughts on The Secret? Have you experimented with it?

Time for Change

After a year, it is with great sorrow (okay, too much drama) that I move to a new gym. A few factors that played a part in this decision:

1. The new gym has a swimming pool so I don't have to go all the way to the other side of town just for a swim.
2. It has a nice garden view from all parts of the gym so that's a really refreshing change from the old one.
3. I've quit my job to work on my own so I'm expecting a financial hit in the first few months that I'm on my own. The gym that I go to now is crazy expensive but very good and walking distance from my home. Moving gyms will save me around 15-17 k a year so it's totally worth it right now. I can take the various routines I've learnt over the past year and use them at the new gym I guess.

I'm sad because the instructors at the current gym are good and are nice folks and I know the early morning regulars now. I guess breaking any routine is a small challenge.

But I have a good feeling about the new place too. Hope it works out.

Running #22

Tuesday's Run:
Distance: 8 km
Time: Sub-45 min

Indoor, but I couldn't get the time right because I had to switch treadmills after 1 km. The one I was on sounded like it was working out harder than me.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Time for the Outdoors!

Prabalgad

After many months of waiting, it's finally here. The monsoons and trekking season! I'm not much of a trekker but I really love being outdoors in the rain.

Hilly landscapes covered in every imaginable shade of green all looking so clean and fresh, waking up early on Sunday morning to a calm, quiet Mumbai, the picturesque ride, and best of all, walking up the hillsides through the gleaming streams as they bubble and chatter away over rocks and stones.

Mountains, fog and trees uninterrupted by human intrusions are a sight for sore urban eyes. I could spend hours just looking into the distance from the edge of a mountain, just losing myself in the scenery. I really need a nice rainy trek.

I think we are closest to ourselves, when we are close to Nature.

I'm off to Prabalgad Fort this Sunday. Really excited! :)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Running #21

Today's Run:
Distance: 8 km
Time: 44 min 31 sec

Indoor. The best time I've done in a while but I haven't been working out regularly so that's been at the back of my mind. It's a bit annoying. I feel lazy and lethargic when I don't go out exercising. Bleah! I've slacked a little on the exercise routines because I've been staying up late to watch the Euro '08 football matches. Thankfully it's getting over on Sunday. Looking forward to the weekend.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Tinkering

I spent a good part of yesterday tinkering on the Internet. Here's what I discovered through my Internet guru, Mandar:

1. Foxmarks: If you use Mozilla, you can save your Bookmarks (a.k.a. Favorites for IE users) online using Foxmarks. What that means is that you can import your bookmarked links from your office computer to any other computer (or vice-versa) without having to visit any of the many many bookmarked links again. Basically, you're Bookmarks are accessible no matter which computer you work on. Such a boon! Sorry if you're already familiar with this stuff, I'm a bit of a novice here.

2. Del.icio.us: A great place to post links that are interesting, but may not be bookmark-worthy. Again, very very useful.

3. RSS Feeds: I finally understood, somewhat, RSS feeds and how I could use them. I'm currently experimenting with an RSS feed from the BBC Football website. You can see it in the column on the right below the hit counter. Quite interesting.

I am also a recent convert to Firefox and I love it! Three cheers for Firefox 3! :)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

In Bruges


Watched In Bruges twice in two days and I loved it both times!

I love British humour! Understated, caustic and stinging.

It's a dark, completely mental and hilarious movie with a bit of blood, gore and expletives thrown into the mix. Brilliant!

Two hit-men. One gay, the other with the brain of a 5-year-old. The gang leader, Harry, who calls his wife "an inanimate fuckin' object", a Russian gun-runner, Yuri, who calls dum-dums dim-dims, a racist midget (the same one from Death at a Funeral!!!) on ketamine... the list is endless.

The beauty of the movie is that it comes across as idiotic. But beneath the surface, there is a lot of serious thought, wit and darkness.

Please do watch! Blood, gore and expletives notwithstanding. DO NOT miss the last few dialogues of the movie!

P.S. There was this stupid teeny-bopper who actually cried at the end of the movie! The world never ceases to amaze.

Running #20

Last Thursday's Run:
Distance: 8 km
Time: 48 min 30 sec

Outdoor. That's all I remember of it.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Running #19

Today's Run:
Distance: 8 km
Time: 45 min 34 sec

Indoor. Inspired.

The right tracks playing at the gym, a longish rest and general feel-good factor all sort of came together to help me run this time. I don't know if I'll be able to match this on an outdoor. We'll see.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Is Google Making Us Stupid?

Apparently, the Internet is changing the way we think. And they may be right.

Read more about it here.

Link via: Inkscrawl

Monday, June 09, 2008

Caribbean Monk Seal - R.I.P.

The Caribbean Monk Seal

Yeah, that's right. Our race has wiped off another beautiful animal off the planet. They were killed for their blubber.

I can't tell you how sad I felt when I read this in the papers yesterday. A horrible helpless sadness.

How long will we humans live like the world was meant for only our "consumption"? How long will continue to systematically destroy our planet while we spend our lives lusting after more of everything?

Some day, all our indulgences are going to come back and bite us so hard in the ass that we will regret every little one of them. And it'll be too late.

I guess it's a cycle. We're (I include myself here) too stupid to understand how our lives and our lifestyles will destroy us.

Private jets, highly fuel-inefficient Hummers, food wastage, smoking, our hour-long drives to work in private transport, all our greed... it's all going to come back.

I'm not even sure we can reverse the damage we've done. I don't know. The least we can do, nay, must do, is to live as eco-friendly as possible. Because one day, the Caribbean Monk Seal's fate will be our own. The saddest part—we'd have "hunted" ourselves down.

To read more, click here.

P.S. The Hawaiian and Mediterranean Monk Seals are also at a high risk of extinction. If nothing else, pray for them.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Running # 18

Today's Run:
Distance: 8 km
Time: 48 min 32 sec

Today's run was beautiful. Outdoor and in the rain. I was able to take a couple of minutes off my last time because it was cooler.

It felt great to have the rain hit my face on Marine Drive. Cool, refreshing and a welcome change from the sultry summer. The streets look washed, the air has that yummy rainy smell and you stick your tongue out to catch a few raindrops. If the monsoons were a woman...

Anyway, I followed-up the run with a monster breakfast. Here's what I pounded after it:
  1. 3 boiled egg whites
  2. A big glass of watermelon juice
  3. A slice of whole-wheat bread
  4. 3 of those small yellow bananas
  5. 3 chickoos
  6. A bigger glass of mango milkshake
  7. 6 almonds
Holy shit! I just realised... that's a lot of food!!! There must be an orchard growing in stomach right about now.

I love breakfasts! :)

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Running #17

Today's Run:
Distance: 8 km
Time: 50 min 32 sec

Outdoor. Very disappointed with the time. Happy to finish, but I've not done such a slow run for ages. A below 10km/h run.

There are two possible factors that I can attribute this to, three actually:
  1. Heat
  2. Humidity
  3. I've recently stopped taking the protein supplement I've been having for the past six months. I think the supplements really make a difference. You lift heavier at the gym for sure. Now it seems it helps you run faster too. The nutritionist at the gym told me to get started on it way back because I'm vegetarian. But I've always felt it's better to be 100% natural. I don't want to get to a stage where I'm dependent on protein supplements. If that means I have to work harder for the same result, so be it.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Running #16

Saturday's Run:
Distance: 8 km
Time: 44 min 14 sec

Indoor. Good run.

Friday, May 23, 2008

9-to-(occasionally)5

The longer I work in a regular 9-to-5 job, the more I feel I'm not cut out for it.

I've always broken rules and despised authority and loved being the underdog. And now, I find myself fading. I don't know why. I don't know if I can handle this homogeneity that is forced upon us. It's slowly, very slowly, breaking my spirit. This despite working at a relatively liberal organisation.

I'm cynical about big business. Why must we work towards 40% profit growth? Why do we want to grow? What if I decided it's okay to not get my next raise and left work at 4 every evening, played football at the park, went home, showered, ate a healthy dinner, watched the sports news and went to sleep everyday? Would I really complain about not being paid well? Why do I feel like I never fully fit in at these big offices? I'm rambling.

Professional restlessness is kicking in.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Driving

One of things I've always thought about is the similarity between driving on the road and living life.

Just like driving, you need to know when to put on the brakes. Sometimes, it's because there's a bad driver in the next lane or it's because you realise you're going faster than you should be. Life's like that too. Sometimes I come across people who will test my patience, maybe someone really aggressive for example. That's when I try and slow down, be tactful and avoid unnecessary friction and confrontation. Sometimes, I realise I'm trying to live too fast. Pack everything into my day without doing justice to anything. Another instance when I need to pull the brakes.

In life, I also believe, you need to know when to step on the gas. Sometimes, it's in dealing with another aggressive person or it could even be dealing with someone who is too passive and being an impediment in the bargain. When I say aggressive, I don't mean it in the conventional way. I don't believe you have to be shouting from the rooftops and rubbing everyone the wrong way when you're aggressive. It's more of an attitude. It's manifestation may be quite different and depends on the situation. It's just like when you're on the road and there's this inordinately aggressive driver in the next lane trying to cut you off. Sometimes, I believe, it's important not to take nonsense from such drivers. You need to keep them in check. Or sometimes, there's this cabbie cruising at 20 km/h in the right-most lane. He needs to know he's being brainless! :)

The point I'm making is this - one of the most important things in life is knowing when to slow down and when to push yourself harder. It's something I believe I could improve on.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Summer Skies

The sky at Marine drive was breath-taking yesterday. I drove by in the afternoon and it looked like a blissful sheet of blue with a few patches of white clouds and even fewer patches of dark ones. Picture perfect!

Then in the evening, as Mumbai city wound down, the sky took on mellow shades of orange, red, purple and navy. The lights sparkled in the distance, their reflections dancing on the water ripples.

I wish I could express the peace I felt being witness to the sight. But words fail us sometimes.

The Summer of '08 has been good. The sound of cuckoos as I walk to the gym early in the morning, mango milkshakes at breakfast and, of course, the clear skies.

I don't quite know what looking at the sky does to me. A sense of space that we so badly lack in urban life I guess. So easy on the eyes.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Running #15

Today's Run:
Distance: 8 km
Time: 44 min 10 sec

Indoor. It was a good run with a strong finish. I didn't even feel tired. I think I'm hitting some form finally. Will wait for the next couple of runs to decide if I have. It feels great though! :)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A Long Way Gone

Just finished 'A Long Way Gone' by Ishmael Beah. It was amazing!

It's the story of a boy soldier in Sierra Leone, his life before the war started, his experiences during the war, the terrible things he had to do to survive and the road to recovery. It reminded me of the movie, Blood Diamond.

Reading about experiences like this threw up so many questions in my mind. But the one question that really lingers is how can humans can be so cruel to other people? I don't mean to be judgemental. I know circumstances can make the most gentle people do horrible things. But the question still remains.

Running #14

Today's Run:
Distance: 8 km
Time: I pressed the wrong button on the stopwatch :)

Outdoor. Surprisingly decent weather. Hot, but there was the occasional cool breeze. Marine Drive was beautiful this morning.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Running #13

Saturday's Run
Distance: 8 km
Time: 44 min 58 sec

Happy to hit a sub-45 time. But it was indoor so it was easier.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Perverse Opinions

I am amused by George Bush's and the White House's stupidity yet again. Just when you think he's been doing well for himself, primarily by keeping his mouth shut, he'll go and shoot himself in the foot, exhibiting his incompetence and complete ignorance by saying something like this “[India’s] middle-class is bigger than our entire population... When you start getting wealth, you demand better food... and prices... go up.”

So what are you suggesting, Mr. Bush? That our countries stay poor and our citizens remain malnourished while you fatten yourself on mac-and-cheese, greasy McDonald's burgers and beef steak?

As if this wasn't an eloquent enough parading of the White House's foolishness, a few days later, they go and say oil prices are going up because of India and China. Hello!?!? Did we ask you to invade Iraq? Look at oil prices before your mass murder began, Mr. Bush. The numbers tell the story.

As if all this isn't shocking enough, the European Union, who willingly bend over for Bush and his cronies anytime they please and say 'Spank me hard!' with a big wide grin, asked the world (read: all 'developed' nations) not to overlook the, and I quote the EU Commissioner for Agriculture here, "elephant standing in front of them". Elephant = China and India.

You know what Mr. Commissioner, you really shouldn't overlook the elephant. You know why? Because one day it's going to trample all over your ass and drop a big huge douche on you.

Don't get me wrong. I love America and Europe. What would life be without Southpark, Hummers, French wine and Czech models?

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Reading

I recently finished 'Gang Leader for a Day' by Sudhir Venkatesh and I found it fascinating. I've always been intrigued by lives in other cultures and Sudhir does a pretty good job of describing life for Black Americans in the Chicago housing projects. It's like a world of its own. They have their own way of governance because no cops bother to regulate the neighbourhood, neighbours steal from each other at times, prostitutes strut their stuff in the stairwells while kids play in the apartments. It's like a movie sometimes.

It's hard to believe people live like that in America. As an outsider who has never visited the country, one never hears about the ugly underbelly. But this book opens up a whole new American world. Street justice, no federal assistance and a society that has been left to fend for itself. One of my favourite dialogues in the book is when JT, the protagonist and resident gang leader, tells Sudhir to stop calling him a black or an African-American. He says, "I'm a nigger. Niggers are the ones who live in this building. African-Americans live in the suburbs. African-Americans wear ties to work. Niggers can't find no work."

It makes you wonder how things like this go on in America. The land of plenty and the land of the free. But I guess every country has its own shit to deal with. Some have more, some have less.

It's a book you will enjoy if you like learning about different cultures. If you're in the mood for racy, fast-paced stuff, this is not the book to pick up. There are times when it rambles for a bit. But if you have a bit of patience, I'm sure you'll enjoy the book. I quite liked it. But truth be told, I'm not a good critic. This is more opinion than critique.

On a different note, one of the things I've realised is that I don't like adult fiction. I prefer reading non-fiction, autobiographies and genres like that. The only fiction I enjoy is kid's fiction. Harry Potter, Percy Jackson and the like. I also tried reading Bill Bryson once but I just couldn't get myself to finish it. Most people like his books. Somehow, they just don't cut ice with me. Not quite sure why.

I'm now reading 'A Long Way Gone' by Ishmael Beah.

Running #12

Today's Run:
Distance: 8 km
Time: 47 min 12 sec

Running after a long time but it felt good to be out there. It's so bright these days at 6.15 am! It's usually dark when I leave home for my run but now, it feels like 7.30 am.

A very tiring run. Maybe because I'm running after a long time. Plus the heat and humidity. But there was a nice gentle sea breeze blowing so that made it a little more bearable. The post-run stretch was painful. It never is usually. Probably because I was doing the stretches after a long time. I thought my leg was going to pull out of my hip when I did one of my normal cool-down stretches so I had to take it easy initially. Over the years, I've realised how important the warm-up and cool-down stretches are. They're absolutely imperative for anyone.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Back to Mumbai

Yup. Back in Mumbai after a hectic trip. Some highlights of the holiday...

  • Lying in a hammock by the Kerala backwaters reading a book for hours.
  • Checking out Opus in Bangalore with cousins to bring in a birthday. Went there on a... what was it... yeah, Wednesday night. There was some karaoke competition on and it was pretty good! Good music, good fun! Thanks Haathi! :)
  • The boat ride through the canals in Kumarakom, Kerala.
  • Dancing to a Daler Mehendi CD on repeat in Thrissur with inebriated uncles, aunts, cousins and oldies. The night ended with some disco Mallu music!
  • An evening swim in Kerala alone in the pool. Therapeutic. I don't remember the last time I swam and it felt great to get some exercise during the holiday. I need to start swimming!
  • Dealing with travel decisions where everyone in the family would suggest something different and everyone would end up annoyed. *Rolls eyes* It's funny looking back, but trust me, I had to do a LOT of deep, controlled breathing to stay calm :)
  • Travelling with kids can be a pain in the ass.
  • Visiting the beautiful temple in Thrissur. What a relief to go to a clean, well-maintained temple!
  • Stopping by Kaladi. The birth place of Sri Adi Shankaracharya, one of the greatest minds India has ever produced. The place had such a beautiful vibe. The temple bells, the running river, the chanting of the shlokas... felt blessed to have been there.

All in all, a very good holiday and wonder of wonders, I'm actually glad to be back at work. I hope some good projects come my way. Here's to a happy summer holiday season! :)

Friday, April 25, 2008

A Wedding and a Holiday

I'm off to Kerala and Bangalore tomorrow for a week and won't be blogging until I'm back. It's going to be part wedding (in the family) and part holiday.

I'm not really looking forward to the wedding bit. Technically, my uncle is getting married but he's more like a cousin, just a couple years older. He's a really nice guy and we get on well, and honestly, that's why I'm going for it. But I find family weddings a bit intimidating for the following reasons:
1. Lots of people. I don't like crowds. Nor do I fancy having people's asses on my shoulder when I'm seated on a chair trying to balance a plateful of food in one hand and eat with the other.

2. Lots of people who know you, but you don't know them. Primarily because you were crapping in your diapers when they saw you last.

3. Aforementioned people coming up to you with wide smile and asking if you remember them. Having to respond with fake smile. Painful.

4. Middle-aged women (or older) shiftily looking at you and evaluating you because you are now at a "marriageable age". Whatever that means.

5. People asking you when you're getting married. Having to respond with fake smile, again.

6. Having to dress up in ridiculous outfits in the oppressive heat resulting in sweat patches all over you making you look like you've stepped out of a workout, which incidentally I would prefer.

7. The mother of all pains, a bad shehnai player at the wedding. It makes you want to weep.

Thus, it is with great trepidation that I pack my bags and embark on this journey. I'm counting on the Kumarakom holiday and Bangalore to be the saving graces. Nonetheless, I shall face my challenges (and randomly smiling relatives) with courage.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Running Without Music

I don't particularly enjoy listening to music on my outdoor runs because I worry about pulling the headphone wires out while I run. It's a distraction I can do without when I'm trying desperately to finish a 10 km run.

After reading this article, I now know why. Apparently, I have an associated concentration style. :) I love these little words that researchers come up with!

Hungry to Learn

Off late, I've been getting this crazy urge to study, to learn, to read new stuff. I'm not quite sure what to do with it. Will wait and see if it stays.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Even This Will Pass Away

I always remember this poem during highs and lows of life. Not in a cynical way, but as an objective acceptance of the ways of the world. For your reading pleasure, Even This Will Pass Away written by Theodore Tilten.

Once in Persia reigned a king,
Who upon a signet ring
Carved a maxim strange and wise,
When held before his eyes,
Gave him counsel at a glance,
Fit for every change and chance:
Solemn words, and these were they:
"EVEN THIS WILL PASS AWAY."


Trains, of camel through the sand
Brought him gems from Samarcand;
Fleets of galleys over the seas
Brought him pearls to rival these,
But he counted little gain,
Treasures of the mine or main;
'What is wealth?' the king would say
"EVEN THIS WILL PASS AWAY."

'Mid the pleasures of his court
At the zenith of their sport,
When the palms of all his guests
Burned with clapping at his jests,
Seated midst the figs and wine,
Said the king: 'Ah, friends of mine,'
Pleasure comes but not to stay,
"EVEN THIS WILL PASS AWAY."

Woman, fairest ever seen
Was the bride he crowned as queen,
Pillowed on the marriage-bed
Whispering to his soul, he said
"Though no monarch ever pressed
Fairer bosom to his breast,
Mortal flesh is only clay!
'EVEN THIS WILL PASS AWAY."

Fighting on the furious field,
Once a javelin pierced his shield,
Soldiers with a loud lament
Bore him bleeding to his tortured side,
'Pain is hard to bear," he cried,
But with patience, day by day,
"EVEN THIS WILL PASS AWAY."

Towering in a public square
Forty cubits in the air,
And the king disguised, unknown,
Gazed upon his sculptured name,
And he pondered, "What is fame?'
Fame is but a slow decay!
"EVEN THIS WILL PASS AWAY."

Struck with palsy, sore and old,
Waiting at the gates of gold,
Said he with his dying breath
'Life is done, but what is Death?"
Then as answer to the king
Fell a sunbeam on his ring;
Showing by a heavenly ray,
"EVEN THIS WILL PASS AWAY."


- Theodore Tilten

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sunday Morning

with Maroon 5. Drivin' slow on Sunday mornin'...

Running #11

Yesterday's Run:
Distance: 10 km
Time: 56 min 26 sec

Long, tiring, hot and very sweaty even though it was indoors.

Almost didn't go to the gym yesterday morning. Just wasn't feeling up to it when I woke up. Dragged myself there but I'm glad I did the run eventually. Totally worth it. One of those bitter-coated sugar pills.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Goa '07 - Part 1

I don't remember blogging about my Goa trip of October 2007 so I'm going to try and remember parts of it in 3 phases. Why 3 phases? We spent 9 days there.

The first three days were at this place called Anjuna Villa. (Yes, it was near Anjuna beach.)

Phase 1 features two of my school buddies and me. We reach Anjuna Villa around 11 am. Settle into the room. And before I can say 'What are we doing...', out come the rizzlas, the maal and roaches and they're smoking their first Goa joint. I hadn't tried smoking a joint before then, and for the first time, I agreed to experiment when they offered it to me. I think they were as surprised as I was when I took them up on the offer. It's one of those spur of the moment decisions you make in life. And I wouldn't regret it. I stayed stoned for 8 out of the 9 days.

Phase 1 Routine:

1. Wake-n-Bake: Translated, smoke a joint as soon as you wake up. That would be around 8.30 or 9 am usually.

2. Head to the beach, jump into the sea, swim and float for hours until you realise you're super hungry.

3. Wade out of the water, flop on a recliner at a shack on the beach and order eggs, omlettes, french toast and chocolate milkshake. Probably our biggest meal of the day.

4. Another joint with beer as we looked out onto the ocean. I have no words to describe what I felt. Peace would be the best word, maybe. Sand, the beautiful sea, the sound of the waves crashing onto the rocks... bliss.

5. Head back into the sea and swim/float for another hour or two. Time passes really fast when you're baked.

6. Lunch @ Munches. Multiple helpings of hummus and pita. Really yummy, slurpy juices. We missed the grape juice though. Apparently it's very good.

7. Oh man!!! How could I forget?!?! We rode everywhere on our Honda Activas. Wussy? Maybe. But I don't fancy bikes. Riding around Goa on those things was a rush. I want to buy an Activa for myself, but it wouldn't be the same in Mumbai. I think I'll just save that Activa feeling for Goa.

8. Move to another beach, swim more, evening snack, bake.

9. Go to Curlies on Anjuna. Pick a table up front where we can see the sea. Drink King's beer. Bake yet again and sit for hours as we watched the sun set, the beautiful purply orange haze in the sky, kids playing on the beach, good music and, of course, the sound of the sea. Bliss out again.

10. Grab a bite at Curlies or Munches (not Munchies as one of my friends insisted on calling it!!!), back to Anjuna Villa, hot shower and sleep like a baby.

11. Sometimes go out for a night bike ride to Baga. (and get busted by cops for not having licences once)

All this X 3 days. The beaches changed. Morjim, Anjuna, Vagator (Chota and Bada).

That's pretty much how phase 1 of Goa '07 went. It changed my life. I don't quite know how, but it did. For the better.

P.S. Before you think I'm a pothead, which may not be such a bad thing, I am not. Goa was the first time I tried smoking it (I don't even smoke) and I don't know if I'll ever do it again. But you know what they say, never say never.

Running #10

Today's Stats:
Distance: 8 km
Time: 43 min 47 secs

Indoor. Flat-out. Tiring, but good tiring.

I haven't been able to break the 43.30 barrier for a while and with all this humidity and heat, it seems unlikely it will happen in the next 3 months. That's okay. I shall pound away on the streets and in the gym.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Song for the Day

Bleeding Love by Leona Lewis. I love the rhythm. It makes me want to bounce!

Apparently it's mainstream commercial music. But that's okay. I never claimed to be cool.

I also just finished reading 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time'. Very interesting, funny, disturbing and I have to confess, there are moments when I wanted to whack Christopher Boone on the head. I felt the worst for his Father. Certainly worth a read.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Cheats!

I had the time to sneak a peek at the Hindustan Times this morning and I chanced upon an article about how FMCG companies are reducing the contents of biscuit, food and detergent weights to keep prices the same. They're just trying to lull us consumers into thinking that things are the same. It's unbelievable.

And I'm not talking about shady little outfits that have their workshops in some random slum and employ child labourers. These are supposed to be, ahem, 'well-respected' organisations. Hindustan Unilever, Britannia and Nestle to name a few.

Maybe somebody should take the CEOs of these companies with their families to an amusement park, charge them an entry fee and then tell them they won't be able to go on the big roller-coaster because it's not included in the entry fee only once they enter the park. Maybe then will they understand how subversive, deceitful and unfair their 'strategies' are.

Companies call them grammage adjustments. I call it cheating. You're trying to con your consumers into thinking that prices haven't gone up. You're trying to sell less at the same price without letting me know.

Click here to read the article.

Running #9

Yesterday's Stats:
Distance: 8 km
Time: 45 min 37 secs

Outdoor, humid, energy-sapping, tiring.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Endorphin Junkie/Climaxing Professionally

Endorphin Junkie
I think that's what I am. I've realised, over time, that running and exercise are essential for me to stay in a healthy state of mind. When I don't go to the gym or step out for a run AND it isn't a Sunday, I'm a pretty cranky person.

I've tried various stimulants over time, but there isn't anything that comes close to a good workout. When I think about the time I weighed 92 kgs, it seems like another life.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Climaxing Professionally
For the first time in several months, I've worked on a really fun project at work. For all of 2.5 days.

I'd liken my experience on the project to an orgasmic climax. You do a lot of work (in the professional context, mostly uninspiring), for those few moments of pleasure.

Yes, I am happy to declare that I've professionally climaxed.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Vodafone Sucks

Yeah, I've finally and officially switched my mobile telecom service provider for several reasons.

1. Vodafone networks are as efficient as my former 83-year-old domestic help. The only difference was her heart was willing but the body wasn't. Vodafone, on the other hand, are a bunch of hapless wankers with no metaphorical 'heart' or 'body'. To put it into perspective, I can't even make calls from my bedroom because of their pathetic network in Mumbai.

2. My cell phone bills have nearly doubled over the past three or four months because they decided to unceremoniously discontinue an old SMS package which gave me text messages at 30p. They now charge me Rs.1 per SMS as a result. Hence the inflated phone bill. When I asked for a plan with better SMS rates, they politely asked me to fuck off by telling me to switch to a prepaid connection. That was the last nail in the coffin.

3. I had to call their helpline (111 or 98200 98200) about 9 times to actually make myself audible because their crap-all network made everything sound like a badly skipping CD. When I finally did get through to a Relationship Officer, the dipshit tried to sell me a prepaid plan again. I had to tell him, about thrice, that I was no longer interested in a 'relationship' with Vodafone and instead of telling me about ways to stay with Vodafone, he should just tell me about the procedure to deactivate this mockery of a mobile phone connection.

To cut a long story short, I've now moved to BPL Mobile. 200 free calls and text messages for 200 bucks. 50p per SMS (National), 50p for a local call, Rs.1 for STD calls and, take a deep breath, lifetime free caller line identification service. (That saves the 75 bucks/month I spend on the service with Vodafone, bastards.)

Vodafone sucks. And really, pretty much anything is better than them. Long live market forces! :)

Now to let everybody know my new, easier to remember cell phone number.... MUUAAAHHHAHAHAAHHAHA!!!

Running #8

Today's Stats:
Distance: 10 km
Timing: 55 min 5 secs

Indoor, slower, controlled, relaxing.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Exactly one year ago...

... I walked into my current employer's office for the second 'first time'. (It's my second stint here.)
... I was happy to be single again.
... I was happy to be back where I work.
... I wouldn't have run the half-marathon in 2 hours.
... I was a different person. But not too much. I think.
... I was SO out of touch with good, new music.
... I was determined to go to Bangalore for the Aerosmith gig. (What a trip!)

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Running #7

Today's Stats:
Distance: 8 km
Time: 43 min 45 secs

Very satisfying, much better weather and a strong finish.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Running #6

Today's Stats:
Distance: 8 km
Time: 44 min 54 secs

Outdoor run. Struggled. Pushed. Huffed and puffed. Very tiring for some strange reason. Just wasn't in the zone. One of those 'happy to have finished' runs.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Prophet

I don't remember if I've mentioned this earlier, but Gibran's work, The Prophet, is one of my favourite books ever.

When I read the book for the first time, it was for solace. But when I read it the second time, it was with a more open mind. To learn, to understand.

Here's a brilliant excerpt from the book:
Much of your pain is self-chosen.
It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self.
Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquillity:
For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by the tender hand of the Unseen,
And the cup he brings, though it burn your lips, has been fashioned of the clay which the Potter has moistened with His own sacred tears.


I don't think I've read anything more moving. And true.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Weekend That Was

So I'm on the eve of the next workweek, again. *Sigh* It has been a most satisfying unproductive weekend though :)

Shooting the breeze with friends, watching Premier League football, gymming leisurely without having to look at the watch in the mornings, a great trip to Pune. The drive to Pune and back was super. Music, open roads and a smooth ride. Bliss.

Weekend highlight: This was difficult to pick. Probably Chelsea coming from behind to pip Arsenal 2-1. I have to say, I couldn't contain my joy when Didier Drogba hammered his second goal into the back of the net. The ladies with us looked on with disbelief at our savage celebrations. The things sport can do to you. :) Ok, I'm going to cheat and add another highlight. Staying up late on Sunday night!!! It felt sooooo good to be up late on Sunday without having to care about waking up early on Monday for work. It felt like eating yummy crumbly chocolate chip cookies without having to bother about those annoying little crumbs falling on the carpet. Magical!

Tomorrow, it's back to deadlines, reviews, checklists... and my office buddies! At least something to look forward to.

Time to make the best of what's left!

An addition :)

From her blog, I think she's a full-on foodie. Some wonderful writing and thoughts. Meet Chiffonesque.

Do visit when time permits.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Revenge Ink


I'm proud and happy to announce that my uncle and aunt have gone guerilla. No, not with AK-47s and rocket launchers, but with their very own publishing house, Revenge Ink.

Not only that, they've also written a book each! The one by my uncle, Gopal Mukherjee, is called The Armageddon Mandala and the book written by my aunt, Amita Mukherjee, is called The Ugly Duckling.

They've overcome tremendous odds to achieve what they have and I'd say, in many ways, the very publishing of the book is a great achievement by itself. Rebels and iconoclasts, they've put their necks on the line to do what they believed in and for that, I respect them immensely.

I spent the weekend in Pune after their booklaunch at Crossword, Mumbai and we chatted into the wee hours of the morning talking about life, authenticity and how important it is to pursue your beliefs. Some of the best conversation I've had in a while.

One point that we discussed was the invulnerability of people who choose to live their dreams despite the odds. They become invulnerable not because they are immune to failure (or success), but because they come to accept their vulnerability and embrace it rather than fear it. It's an interesting thought. One that I've mulled over for a while and it was amazing to hear someone else express their belief in it.

Anyway, do pick up their books at a Crossword near you. They're funny, witty, insightful and the language is zany! :)

P.S. Revenge Ink also has a writing competition going for budding authors. So if you've got stuff you'd like to have published, drop by the Revenge Ink Competition Page.

Running #5

Today's Stats:
Distance: 10 km
Time: 55 min 35 secs

Did an indoor run on the gym treadmill. Ran at an easy clip, relaxed right through, controlled and didn't push myself after the long weekend shenanigans :)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Cost of Freedom

  • A displaced and exiled Government.
  • Punishment and death by a ruthless oppressor resulting the death of an estimated death of 1.2 million people. That's a conservative estimate.
  • Foreigners being transported into their homeland by the oppressor to disperse the population. Today, for every native, there are three foreigners in their own land.
  • A spiritual leader of the country who cannot go home to where he belongs.

How long will the people of Tibet suffer illegal Chinese occupation? Sometimes, things in life make you wonder where justice is hiding.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Obese? Your employer suffers

If you're in Japan, that is. Employees have to go through compulsory 'flab-checks'. Overweight people get a fitness and diet plan. Excessively obese people have to go to the doctor.

All this to cut down soaring medical costs.

No I didn't make this up!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Meditation Works. So Says (Neuro)Science.

Apparently, we now have scientific evidence that meditation is good for us. While I don't meditate myself, some of the things in the article I read really struck me.

It said that we indulge in 'too much frantic doing' and 'not enough being'. I completely agree. Most times when I've felt stressed are when I've focused too much on getting someplace (physically or otherwise) where I'm not. When I've been obssessed about getting to the destination rather than just enjoying the journey.

In fact, that is one of my many life philosophies now. The journey has become the destination.

Running #4

Today's Stats:
Distance: 8 km
Time: 44 min 4 sec

Considering I almost didn't go, I guess it's a decent time.

It was one of those mornings when you wake up say to yourself, "I don't think I'm up to it, today." I wasn't. But I had one of those life-changing dumps. And I came out of the toilet a new man. I felt light as a feather :) There was no way I could not go.

So I got out there and huffed and puffed my lungs out. I think the heat and humidity are taking about 20 seconds off my times for the 8 km runs. Don't know for sure though. Will track the trends over the next two or three weeks.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Juno

One of the... I'm looking for the word... rraawwllrrraall... I can't find a word for it... nicest(?) movies I've seen in a while.

I loved the dialogue, the Americanisms (Leah: It's probably just a food baby. Did you have a big lunch? Juno MacGuff: No, this is not a food baby all right? I've taken like three pregnancy tests, and I'm forshizz up the spout.), the humour, the emotion and the treatment of the subject of teen pregnancy.

Juno is way cute. Bleeker is well, Bleeker. You have to see him to believe it. In Juno's words, he's the cheese in her macaroni! :)

Her relationship with her father and step-mom is weirdly beautiful. One of my favourite scenes is when Juno asks her dad if two people in love can really stay together.

For the record, I believe they can. :) Do watch!
P.S. Orange Tic Tacs rule! :)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Running #3

Today was time for an interval run. What's an interval run? Alternate between walking and relatively high-speed running.

Today's pattern:
3 mins of walking @ 5 km/h followed by a 1 km run @ 13.5 km/h (X 5 times)

This run is a killer! By the time you've reached the end of the 4th 1 km interval, your body wants to stop.

That's how it was today. The body desperately wanted to stop, but fortunately, the mind was willing. I pushed really hard on that last interval and it was well worth the effort.

I don't know what it is but always finishing the run that I set out to achieve has been one of the greatest pleasures of my life. It sounds like overkill. But if you've done a bit of running, you might understand how I feel.

The belief, confidence and high that you get when you always, always run the distance you decided to run is amazing. Until now, I've never had an unplanned stop while running. Sometimes, I think it's because I'm really stubborn that I never give up. Maybe stubborness' flip side is tenacity.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Running #2

Yesterday's Stats:
Distance: 8 km
Time: 45 min 19 sec

Amongst the worst runs I've had in a while. Extremely tiring, very hot weather and wayyyy too humid. It was like an oven out there and no breeze either. Just happy to have finished it.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Around the Corner


One of the most beautiful things about life, as I've only recently begun to appreciate, is that you never know what's around the corner. How often do we plan things, have to-do lists, have goals and objectives, call it what you will, and then suddenly something happens that just turns life on its head. Sometimes, it's a bad thing. Sometimes, it's a good thing. And then sometimes, it's just a thing, not good or bad. But it changes your life in some way. In a way you didn't expect.

That's what amazes me everytime. I used to be one of those planning types. Organised. I used to have goals, have a picture of myself five years down the road and all the usual success literatury things that we read in books. And then one of those unexpected events happened that would change the way I saw life.

I'm still sort of organised. But I have no goals. Nowhere where I want to be apart from where I am right now. I believe that there's an intelligence that is far greater than me that knows where I need to be. It's not that I've stopped taking responsibility for my actions but just that experiences in life make me believe that often, I don't know what is best for me.

You do what you believe you need to do, do it to the best of your ability and then let destiny take care of itself. Every moment, my belief is 'I am where I want to be.' It's a thought that has given me tremendous peace and strength. Whether it's a spending a late Friday evening at work or having a blast with my friends at my school re-union, that is where I was supposed to be. Despite my not wanting or wanting to be there at that instant.

That's why every day feels like an adventure. It's a real bummer at times. But then at others, it's like a fairy tale unfolding itself before my eyes. With me as a character.

I love not knowing what life has in store for me. Whether I will live to see tomorrow or not, I will enjoy the journey while it lasts.

Bear the tough experiences, ride the highs, learn from mistakes and be grateful for everything.

I have learnt to give up control of my life, but not the responsibility.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

A Mind Reader?

Arrested for thought crimes. Other people knowing about your dreams. Bush's cronies in Homeland Security know how you feel about your annoying neighbour.

Just maybe. If the wrong people get their hands on this!

A device that can read minds apparently. Sort of cool. And sort of scary even.

Running #1

From now on, in addition to other random posts, I'm going to try and document my timings on morning runs so I can track my progress. (Assuming I make any progress)

Today's Stats:
Distance: 10 km
Time: 54 min 1 sec

Monday, March 03, 2008

Deat at a Funeral

Definitely one of the funniest movies I've ever watched, if not THE funniest.

British humour, idyllic English countryside setting, and brilliant characters. A recipe for a stomach-clenching laugh-a-thon.

As the title suggests, it's about a funeral, last rites, and a lot of wrongs!

I'm not going to spoil your fun by telling you the story. I love the movie too much to do that. Admittedly, it is disgusting at times. But funny disgusting. So if you fancy sarcastic humour, a bit of slapstick and some wit, this is a movie you cannot miss.

It left me doubled-over innumerable times during the movie with a stomach-ache that I thought would eventually kill me. My friends and I made the most noise in the theatre and later, we concluded it was a movie made for our insane humour.

Characters to watch out for: Uncle Alfie, Martha's boyfriend, the guy who's coming to the funeral to hit on Martha, the midget

P.S. If you do watch it, let me know if you liked it and what you thought of the movie.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Friday Evening

It's been a strange day.

I left home late because I got home late from work last night. Traffic was a bitch. Work, today, was annoying because, like yesterday, I had to wait for 4 hours for other people to finish their work before I could go on with mine. Traffic was a bigger bitch on the way home because the wimpy Chief Minister of Maharashtra's (equivalent to the Governor of a state in the US) son decided to get married. Then I stayed home instead of going out with my friends which I usually do. Now I'm writing this post at 11.16 p.m.

But I'm still feeling good.

How weird is that! I've been good this week somehow. Feeling less rushed. More in control.

Right now, I'm in this happy haze. Grateful for having a decent job (that still pisses me off every now and then). Having such wonderful people at work to hang out with. I really mean that. I don't have to pretend to be this corporate wanker. Instead, I can just be the wanker that I am. No politicking, no games.

Grateful for having these crazy friends outside work who I would trust my life with.

Grateful for all the special people who have been part of my life and gone on. Every one of them has touched my life in ways they will never know.

Grateful to my mother for being who she is. Tough, yet gentle.

And finally, grateful to that unknown force that keeps this crazy world going. Thank you.

I couldn't ask for anything more.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Wow

I just heard a couple of songs by Amy Winehouse (fine, I'm a late bloomer) and her music is awesome! Love is a Losing Game, Rehab and Tears Dry on Their Own are some of the songs I've listened to and they're so easy on the ears!

Soulful, mellow, soothing.

Some of the words that come to mind when I listen to her music. Great to unwind!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Questions

As a person who asks many questions, not necessarily to others, I've found that there's a whole bunch of categories as far as questions go. Here's my little classification:

1. I'd-rather-nots: Questions that you ask but don't really want an answer to.
Banal: You're looking at yourself in the mirror preening away when you realise you've put on a few kilos you could've done without. So you suck your tummy in and ask, "Have I put on weight?" *Sound of the wrong answer buzzer* I'd rather not know.
Not-so-banal: You've screwed up at home with your sibling/parent/spouse and you go, "What did I do?" *Sound of the wrong answer buzzer* You DON'T want to go down that road!

2. Answerables: These questions can be of four types, a) easy to answer and pleasant, b) easy to answer and unpleasant, c) not easy to answer and pleasant OR, d) the worst one of them all, not easy to answer AND unpleasant a.k.a. the double whammy.
Banal: So where are we going to dinner? Type a or c OR depending on who you're with, a type b!
Not-so-banal: Does s/he like me? I'd rate this as type c and a potentially type d question.

3. Unanswerables: I find these questions the most intriguing. They're the kind of questions that creep up on you when you're staring into nothingness at the airport terminal or sitting by the ocean watching the waves crash onto the rocks. Most often, there are no answers. There are no banal examples in my opinion so we'll do the examples a bit differently here.
Relatively less not-so-banal: You've just graduated from college with a degree in Philosophy. What do I do with my life now? How do I plan to spend the rest of my life constructively... or not? Making ends meet kind of stuff.
Relatively more not-so-banal: Is this how it was meant to be?

I don't know what it is about the unanswerables that catches my fancy. Maybe I'm not constructively occupied enough. I don't know. They can be real monsters. Consume you. Drive you to every nook and cranny of your little mind. They make you scan your experiences, scan others' experiences, observe yourself, observe others. Maybe more. But the answers just aren't there.

I find that most of life's BIG questions have no real concrete answers. What is the purpose of life? Is there a purpose? What is its meaning? Or why should there be any meaning to it? Why can't I go through life like a journey? Possibly a journey to nowhere in particular? Why should I be judged on what I have achieved? Why can't I go through life enjoying what I have instead of always looking for what I don't have?

There are no easy answers to these. I don't mean answers like "You're real purpose is to find your true Self." or "You must have a goal to give your life meaning." Things like that just don't cut ice with me anymore. Can you define this true Self? And what happens once I realise my goal? Does my life have no meaning beyond that? Or do I have to go looking for meaning at 54 once I have realised my goal? Give me a break.

You know what the fun part about the unanswerables is though? It's that every now and then life will give you these little glimpses of what you think is the answer until you meet another experience that smashes your conclusion until you reach a point where you say to yourself, "Alright, I may not find the answers, but I can keep seeking."

What do you think?
P.S. If you have categories to add, please do! :)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Inevitable

in·ev·i·ta·ble [in-ev-i-tuh-buhl]
–adjective
1.
unable to be avoided, evaded, or escaped; certain; necessary: an inevitable conclusion.
2.
sure to occur, happen, or come; unalterable: The inevitable end of human life is death.
–noun
3. that which is unavoidable.

Yeah, for some inexplicable reason, that word is just stuck in my head!

Needless to say, the consequences are inevitable. ;)

Monday, February 11, 2008

Gifting Dilemma

My mum's birthday is in another couple of days and I have no idea what to get her.

She's one of those people who don't want anything in particular which makes it EXTRA hard to figure out a gift. She's not into flowers. No perfumes. None of the usual women gifts! Sorry to stereotype!! :) But you know what I mean.

I'll take her out to dinner for sure. She loves Thai food so atleast that makes things easier.

Now to buy a gift.

Running out of idea's... and time!!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Number 5784

That was my marathon day running number. The run was great and I enjoyed myself thoroughly. Needless to say I was pooped after it. And hurting.

21 kms. 2 hours and 2 seconds. Next year will be a sub-2 hour run for sure.

Some of the sights and sounds as I ran (some in my head):

  • The loud Punjabi bhangra at Fountain
  • Thousands of feet pounding the streets of Mumbai at 6.45 on a Sunday morning
  • The Navy brass band at Marine Drive
  • Fellow runners from the gym cheering each other on as we crossed each other
  • Watching in awe as the Kenyans whooshed by at nearly 17 km/h at Haji Ali
  • Struggling on the uphill on the way back at Peddar Road
  • Looking out for the water counters on the way
  • Turning the corner at Babulnath on the way back knowing I was on the home stretch
  • The thought of slowing down near Chowpatty with 4 kms to go.
  • Can't slow down now
  • Running on empty as I see the finish line in the distance
  • An eternity passes until, at last, I am back where I began

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Happy Birthday Papa


My old man would've turned 60 on Jan 18, 2008. Funny thing is, a few of his friends still called in to wish us, they spoke with my mother, laughed, cried and reminisced about the times they spent with him.

Not a day goes by when I don't think about him, when I don't feel his happy, gentle spirit by my side. I am blessed to have had a father like him. Thank you, Papa. I hope you're happy wherever you are.